Manmohan Singh’s friend comes from Pakistan to meet ‘Mohana’

May 23rd, 2008 - 3:21 pm ICT by admin  

By Jaideep Sarin
Amritsar, May 23 (IANS) He may not have an appointment with India’s most important man, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but that hasn’t deterred Pakistani national Raja Ali Muhammad from going to Delhi to meet his childhood friend ‘Mohana’. The septuagenarian from Gah village, the ancestral village of the prime minister in Pakistan’s Chakwal district, crossed over from the Wagah-Attari land border between India and Pakistan 30 km from here Friday.

“Mohana (as Manmohan Singh was called in his village) is my childhood friend. He sent me a letter recently inviting me to meet him anytime. I don’t need an appointment with him even though he must be a busy man. For me, he is a friend first and a PM later,” Raja told reporters after stepping into Indian soil.

The visitor is carrying some emotional memories for the prime minister - soil from the village and their primary school, a pair of Punjabi ‘juttis’ (traditional shoes), water from the village and a couple of photo-frames.

Manmohan Singh’s family had moved to Amritsar city 1947 following the partition of India and creation of Pakistan.

Raja, a farmer, studied with the now Indian prime minister in mid-1930s in the village primary school in Gah.

Clad in a white pathani suit and a white turban, Raja said he was happy to be here and would go to Delhi Saturday to meet his childhood friend.

“I am already feeling young after coming here,” Raja said after he arrived.

“The entire village was very happy when he became prime minister of India in 2004. We are naming a road and school in his name as he has become the most famous former resident our of village,” he said.

He says that things started to change for Gah village after Manmohan Singh became PM here. “A better road and school are there. A solar power system gifted by India has also been installed,” he pointed out.

Manmohan Singh has not been to Pakistan after becoming prime minister. He is expected to go there later this year following an invitation from the Pakistani government.

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